Career change? your opinions welcome

Discussion in 'General Conversation' started by Phil Washburn, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. Phil Washburn

    Phil Washburn New Member

    Messages:
    7,680
    State:
    Shawnee OK
    i own a small auto repair shop. as i get older, cars get smaller. new cars are lower to the ground and the engine sits further back. good for aerodynamics and efficiency, bad for old mechanics with creaky limbs and bad backs. since i now wear glasses, i can no longer do a lot of the under dash work i used to. plus, i find myself at a technological disadvantage. i need to spend $20k plus to update my diagnostic equipment. i simply don't have it.

    i have a buddy that is going to retire in a couple of years and he has being urging me to go into outboard repair with him. he lives in town and doesn't have room for such an endeavor, but i do have. he knows quite a bit about them and i have the storage and repair facility to do it.

    i am confident that i can do the mechanical repair (power heads and lower units), but i am weak in electronic diagnosis of these motors.

    from an equipment standpoint, it would be a piece of cake to change over. i have most tools i would ever need for outboard work. standing at a bench or outboard motor stand is certainly more attractive to me than bending over a small car to do a valve job.

    what are your opinions? should i? i ain't getting any younger. where would i find a source for technical info and specialty tools?
     
  2. BKS72

    BKS72 New Member

    Messages:
    3,361
    State:
    East of KC
    Are there enough older 2 strokes around to keep you busy? I'm assuming so, but not sure how long you want to stay in business. With the growing popularity of new 4 stroke and direct injection 2 strokes you may back in the same boat (no pun intended) in another 5 or 10 years. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

    Branden
     

  3. CountryHart

    CountryHart New Member

    Messages:
    10,914
    State:
    missouri
    I always thought i would have liked to learn boat mechanics. I hate working under a car as bad as anything.
    I also made a job move yesterday. I'm doing building maintenance for the school district my wife teaches at. I been doing masonry , and i'm not getting any younger either. At least this is steady.
     
  4. BIG GEORGE

    BIG GEORGE New Member

    Messages:
    10,362
    State:
    JOISY
    I would think a choice between Brain surgeon and a Fry cook would be more to your likein.:big_smile:
     
  5. brother hilljack

    brother hilljack New Member

    Messages:
    7,305
    State:
    Shelbyville, TN
    That is quite a major move. I am not familar with your area. It would take a lot of boats to make it a steady living. Of course there is always routine maintenance and winterizing! Sorry, I can't be much help on this matter
     
  6. Katmandeux

    Katmandeux New Member

    Messages:
    1,618
    State:
    Checotah, Oklahoma
    Wrong!

    Gadfly.:wink:
     
  7. Skipjack

    Skipjack New Member

    Messages:
    309
    State:
    LaGrange, Ky.
    I would think that you and your buddy could overcome the electronic problems that you are not familiar with. You'll just have to put your heads together and do the research. The real question would be; is the market there? Could you stay busy, and make enough money to do the things that you want.
    Good Luck !
     
  8. azcataholic

    azcataholic New Member

    Messages:
    1,384
    State:
    arizona
    just a thought! If the outboard repair can be done at your residence, no overhead, might work. If you would be replacing the boat motor repair in the same area as you are using for auto repair I would say no. If you have property, commercial, possibly lease out that property, allowing you freedom to pursue boat motor repair at your residence,work when you want,fish when you want. Good Luck!
     
  9. Phil Washburn

    Phil Washburn New Member

    Messages:
    7,680
    State:
    Shawnee OK
    there are not many boat repairs shops in this area. the ones that are here have a full lot year around. i am confident i would be busier than i have been fixing cars. car repair has been very spotty the last couple of years.

    and i am also confident that there are plenty of older motors to keep me going til we have the capital to invest in 4 stroke and fuel injection training and tools. thanks to all who has chimed in.
     
  10. Phil Washburn

    Phil Washburn New Member

    Messages:
    7,680
    State:
    Shawnee OK

    moot point for me, Mike. my house is about 50 feet from my shop:big_smile:
     
  11. Katmandeux

    Katmandeux New Member

    Messages:
    1,618
    State:
    Checotah, Oklahoma
    Seriously, Phil, I think you could starve to death doing this, especially if you split it two ways.

    Have you thought about bringing a younger man into your existing business? I have a buddy who has done that...he just takes the easy stuff. He hasn't been on a creeper in years.:big_smile:
     
  12. Phil Washburn

    Phil Washburn New Member

    Messages:
    7,680
    State:
    Shawnee OK
    that doesn't fix the equipment deficit i am facing now. i do have a young helper right now, but i don't have enough business to keep us both on full time.
     
  13. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,536
    State:
    North Caro
    Phil, have you ever had a business partner? The first one I had was a buddy, I ended up doing most of the work and then I had the problem of ending the partnership and almost the friendship. Must say the friendship was not the same as it was prior to the partnership. Second go around I had a partner that almost stole me blind. Think twice about a partnership. Once I got my head screwed on right, I went solo and ended up having the largest real estate appraisal firm in the Piedmont section of NC during most of the 80's and part of the 90's.

    In my area, boat mechanics are getting $90 to $95 an hour. Does not matter if it is a new engine or old one, same oh. Maybe you ought to go to school to be an outboard mech. or work for someone for a year or so and then opening your own shop and do it your way. You know how to run a business.

    I asked a fellow one time that was rich as you know what, he contributed his success too. He said his past failures.
     
  14. BAM

    BAM New Member

    Messages:
    827
    State:
    Tennessee
    It's not wise to turn the horse youve been riding loose till you make sure the one you just caught is rideable.
    Why not do both, use the boat motor stuff to fill in, if it takes off then go for it.
     
  15. puddle jumper

    puddle jumper Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,507
    State:
    NW.Georgia
    Hey Phil,
    Im not a bisness man but I have been to a couple of OMC outboard schools, and if the electronics is worrying you I wouldent be to concerned, with a good outboard manual and a good meter most of the time all you do is measure resistance on wires to tell if parts are good and bad, then replace the bad part, which is close enough to what you are already doing, :wink: if you are a good mechanic, which im sure you are, its not that far of a leap from one to another..might try getting a manual and go through it to see what they want you to do, and then decide weather its for you or not,,,
    puddle...
     
  16. jagdoctor1

    jagdoctor1 New Member

    Messages:
    708
    State:
    CA/AZ
    Hello! I am currently changing from the same career as yourself! I am only 27 years old though. I worked for Jaguar for 7 years after getting an education. It was great until I came back to my home town to be with Gma and there is no Jag dealer hear. I worked at Chevy and Dodge dealers Then went into an independent to take it over and then realised that I would never get a chance for vacation never get a chance to take holidays off since we are a pass through town and that's when all the work comes. Never get steady pay which I am sure you can relate too. I looked around and all of the Older guys who had great reputations as mechanics are still working on cars with thier broken bodies. Can't get good help in a small town........... Time to change! I'm taking classes at the community college and trying to get into one of the government agency's in my valley currently waiting on the beureu of reclamation. I say that as above mentioned Partners are problems! Think of it, If your charging 95 per hour your only going to get 47.5 to yourself then subtract shop costs..... Gets a little tough. I have done some boat work and I don't think you need to worry about the electronics it's just solonoids and sensors same as a car. If the work is there I agree with what was stated above, Add it to your current work with a new sign and a little word of mouth around town and start fasing out the car work. You can't get the new scanner equipment so just tell People "Sorry I can't take care of that particular problem I don't have the equipment I'm doing more boat work these days" Also start looking for a young guy you can train to do the heavy lifting.